"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."--Eph. 6:13, 18
Nothing can hinder the Lord
I read 1 Samuel 14 today. Such a cool story.
Back story: Jonathan and his father King Saul are the only people in the arm with swords (can you imagine!?) because the Philistines had a monopoly on blacksmithing. That's not a good strategy for winning a war.
Problem: Jonathan wants to attack an entire Philistine outpost on a cliff, at night, with only his armor-bearer. They have one sword, and they have to scale a cliff to get to the enemy.
Jonathan is tired of losing. He's tired of his father disobeying God's commands. He wants justice. He wants righteousness. He knows they should be ridding their land of the Philistine's godless influence.
And he's not afraid of the cost.
What Jonathan says: "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few." (1 Sam. 14:6)
What happens: They go--just the two of them--and call up to the enemy to let them know they're coming. Seriously. Go read it.
Then they kill the first 20 men they meet. The outpost erupts in chaos. The ground shakes. Samuel says, "It was a panic sent by God." (1 Sam. 14:15)
King Saul's lookouts notice the chaos and send troops to fight. They find the Philistines killing one another in confusion.
The enemy slaughters itself because one man said NOTHING CAN HINDER THE LORD.
You are almighty.
I worship you.
Nothing can hinder your plans to save.
I want to always be a part of your plan.
Send panic through your enemies.
Save the ones who turn to you.
Shut down the ones who reject you.
Even when circumstances seem impossible,
I seek to trust you.
I want to scale the cliffs in my life
because I believe that you will act on my behalf.
Lord, help my unbelief!
In Jesus' name, Amen.
What God's saying to you this Christmas--a conversation
What is God saying to you this Christmas? Do you know?
Because He is speaking. He is calling. He is encouraging. He is blessing.
Prayer is a two-way street. When we read Scripture, God speaks to us. When we pray, He confirms or corrects what we think we've heard. And we respond to Him. It's holy communication.
Consider Mary's story this Christmas as a wonderful pattern of prayer for us humans. It's also a revelation about how God speaks to us and responds to our fear.
Because we're all afraid.
GOD (through an ANGEL):
Greetings, (God sees you)
you who are highly favored! (You are special to God, with special blessings from God)
The Lord is with you. (You are not alone, ever)
Do not be afraid, (God knows how you feel without you saying anything)
Mary, (God knows your name and everything about you)
you have found favor with God. (Again, you are blessed)
You will be with child and give birth to a son.... (God has a particular calling on your life; it will be hard)
... he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. (You can't imagine how great your impact on he world will be if you obey)
How will this be, since I am a virgin? (questions are welcome)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (WOW)
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Your dreams are nothing compared to God's plan)
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. (God doesn't mind proving his love and protection to us. Hence, the reason we have a Bible)
For nothing is impossible with God. (God can do anything in your life if you go WITH him in HIS calling)
A simple Christmas prayer:
I wait on you voice. I will obey your calling on my life, whatever that looks like and no matter now much it scares me. I will obey without knowing how everything will work out. I know you're with me, and that your Spirit will be powerful in my life if I let Him. Thank you for sending Jesus to save me from my sin. I give you myself this Christmas and every day. I trust you.
A prayer of protection and vengeance
A paraphrased prayer of Psalm 5
Listen to my words and notice my aching request.
In the morning I lay my requests before you, and you hear me.
I wait expectantly throughout the day for you to work out your will in my life.
You do not delight in evil or relish in the freedom that evil people exercise.
You will not wait forever before you destroy them.
The arrogant and disrespectful cannot stand up to you;
you will not tolerate their actions or attitudes.
You will destroy them and bring honor to yourself.
I call on your vengeance on my enemies--of your enemies--
and I ask for your mercy, also.
Lead me in your righteousness, toward your holy presence.
Declare the evil guilty and wipe their remembrance from the earth.
Separate their reputation from your name.
But protect those who love you,
those you faithfully serve you and endure hardship,
those who suffer and remain faithful.
Surround me with your shield and lead me into the battles you will win for me.
In Jesus' name,
How to pray for your pastors and the Church as a whole
You have called many people I know into a holy and difficult calling: pastoring.
They step into battle week after week against spiritual and physical enemies.
They are called by you to lead my local church, which is part of the global church.
I pray you will protect and nourish my pastors' souls and spirits today.
I pray for their vision, clarity, compassion, and endurance.
I pray a hedge around their families and their emotions; be a rear guard against anyone how wants to attack them and to go before them into battle.
Because we are in a battle, all of us. But you have placed some special people on the front lines, and they are probably getting tired of it.
Church is hard for everybody. I wonder why that is?
I guess because we're all human. We're selfish, and we ruin every blessing that God gives us.
I pray for my church, and I pray for my pastors.
I especially ask you to protect them against attacks from believers because that discourages ministers more than anything else, even more than people who refuse the gospel.
They expect that.
But when the Church hurts the Church, that hurts all of us. We are all hurt when we hurt the leaders of the church.
We are at war against an enemy, but sometimes the enemy is ourselves. Lord, let that not be me.
Encourage my pastors. Protect them from wanting to quit shepherding their flocks, to compromise your message, to hide, self-medicate, or build their own kingdoms instead of building your kingdom.
I pray that whatever my pastors say or do, they will speak your words, directly from you and believe they have heard you correctly, even when it means they're unpopular and misunderstood.
I pray that my pastors will care more about pleasing you than pleasing men.
I pray that my pastors will speak fearlessly--will fully and regularly explain the whole gospel--so that the world will know that you are God. A gospel of suffering, service, and salvation.
I pray against the temptation to water down the gospel so lost people will like it or change it into a prosperity gospel so believers will want to stay in the church. Keep them (and us) from choosing rallying points that aren't the gospel that you preached when you came to earth.
I pray for the courage to be enchained by the gospel message alone, to suffering willingly, to endure for the sake of your reputation. I pray for the Church to remember that controlling this world's kingdoms was never your plan. Not once. That's what the enemy does.
You seek hearts. Seek mine. Seek my pastors' hearts, over and over, again and again.
Never give up on us.
Protect my pastors' families, finances, and futures. Answer my pastors' doubts about calling and success.
Remind them that they belong to you, they serve you, and they will be honored by you in heaven some day for their faithfulness to you.
May my pastors and my church be a beacon of love and acceptance in my community!
May it never be said of my church that we assailed, abused, or attacked our pastors or one another.
God, rebuke us if we do. (Your wrath is coming, if we do.)
Perhaps it's already here. And so, I must say--
I pray for repentance and discernment in my own life and my own heart. Work in me a humility and a contriteness.
May I never idolize my pastors, but may I never demonize them, either.
For that matter, keep me from idolizing or demonizing fellow-believers. I guess that's how we get cynical and divisive.
Convict me when I ignore the Holy Spirit and misconstrue it as the church's fault or my pastors' fault.
Oh, my, it's not possible to pray for my pastors without realizing where I'm wrong.
It's me. The problem is always my heart.
God, forgive me and change me and use my pastors in your service.
Thank you for them. Thank you, even though what they say and do often convicts me.
There you go, being merciful again to me by speaking truth into my heart.
I love you.
In Jesus' name,
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am in chains." (Eph. 6:19)
How to pray for revenge (I mean vengeance and justice)
I'm asking you to make things better--a little fairer--
Not for myself,
but for some people I care about.
In my flesh, I want revenge.
In my spirit, I want your righteousness.
People I love got a bum deal,
an unlucky break.
A gross injustice.
They've been sinned against.
I guess you know what that feels like.
I know life's not fair.
I know we are called to suffer for the kingdom.
But I also know you are a God of justice
and you will produce justice and righteousness
in the world
because that's what you always do.
It's how you reveal yourself to all of us--
a God of power, authority, holiness, and love.
You make things right.
Then you bring joy and peace.
Proverbs 21:15 "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
So when someone hurts, offends, or traumatizes
people I love--
people you love who are following you--
I don't mind asking for a little vindication and vengeance.
Romans 12:19 "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."
You said you'd take care of it.
I hope that doesn't make me terrible
that I want them to get back what they keep dishing out.
Is that my sinful nature
or how you made me?
I want justice, fairness, and equity.
But if I got justice, fairness, and equity for the things I do,
I guess I wouldn't be so incredibly blessed.
I'd have no peace, no future in your presence.
Lord, forgive me for any malice and hatred in my heart.
I want your righteous anger, not my own.
I want your blessing on the just and the unjust.
I want your will for myself and the people I care about.
Often, love travels a long, hard journey
before justice wins.
Give me patience, faith, and courage to wait on you.
Broaden my perspective, my humility, and my meekness.
Bless those who have been wronged.
I suppose all of that is a kind of justice and vengeance.
You are in the process of changing me
and changing everyone else.
You draw them to yourself,
one by one,
from wherever they are sinning.
Justice wins in the end.
You always win.
I praise you, Lord.
And I'm so grateful you aren't like me!
In Jesus' righteous name,
A Psalm for anxietyHave you ever woken up feeling anxious and unsettled?
Do a few dozen responsibilities and concerns fight against one another in your brain?
Feeling nausea or fear in the pit of your stomach?
Are you ever overwhelmed by the sense of defeat and failure when you haven't failed at something?
You're a tough one to beat.
When I'm struggling with anxiety, I like to read Psalm 13 and Psalm 31. Several other Psalms speak to fear, oppression, and grief--which can feel similar to anxiety--but these two seem to zero in on the cloak-and-dagger enemy that is anxiety: our own minds and emotions.
Here's a prayer from Psalm 31:
You are the Comforter and the Healer.
I need your power in my life.
I feel a lot of anxiety and pressure right now.
I honestly can't tell how much is true pressure,
or just my own unrealistic expectations.
I am pressuring myself,
attempting to either control, direct, or manage
everything I care about.
I need you to manage me.
Take away the shame,
calm my distress,
sooth my afflictions,
relieve my groaning,
comfort my grief,
strengthen my weaknesses,
defeat my oppression,
remember my pain,
repair my brokenness,
defeat my terror,
reveal my confusion,
champion my injustices,
rescue me from danger.
You are my
My pressures are nothing to you.
My worries are almost laughable (except you would never laugh at me).
My future is secure in you.
My insecurities are unnecessary.
All my days are numbered.
Not one of them is lost to you.
Lord, teach me to number my days
that I may live them for you,
free of fear and anxiety,
I trust you and love you,
In the powerful name of Jesus,
"My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies [my own thoughts and emotions] and from those that pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave." (Psalm 31:15-17)
Some more prayers and blogs about anxiety:
How to cast away your cares
10 Psalms to read when you're overwhelmed
Prayer for a rushed day
A prayer for trust, peace, and mindfulness
A prayer for the freak-out moments
Discouragement, abandonment, and faith
How to control anxiety so it doesn't control you
Do I really want rest?
A Prayer for justice and vengeance
Oh, Lord God of love and vengeance,
You uphold the cause of the fatherless and widows.
You put the orphans in families.
You release those imprisoned by sin into freedom.
You bring justice for the abused.
You feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
You sit with the lonely.
You heal the sick.
You remember the abandoned.
You lift up the fallen.
You embrace the unloved.
You are all we need.
Always and forever.
You are everything we could ever long for,
or strive for.
No, you are more than that.
I praise you and believe in you
that you will serve justice and give hope to _________
as he/she fights against the evil forces that come against his/her life.
I pray for God's Holy Spirit to pour out like fire from heaven
on ___________ and the needs sitting before him/her.
Decimate the evil that pushes in
and the enemy that sows doubt, fear, and worry.
I pray against the Liar of all lies,
against his forces of evil
and against the people who allow the enemy to work in them and through them.
If they will not repent, Lord--
and we hope that they do--
and that we will forgive--
I pray in Jesus' name for you to take them down.
I pray your power and your vengeance to pour out on behalf of
the abandoned children,
the betrayed spouse,
the jobless parent.
Defend the cause of the heartbroken,
You are enough.
You are powerful enough.
You are holy enough.
You are just enough.
You are merciful enough.
You will punish the wicked.
And we will not fear.
We will not say "Why aren't you helping us?"
We will not wonder if you can sustain us.
We will believe.
We claim your power and your righteousness.
To be all the honor and the glory forever.
In the mighty name of Jesus,
Prayer for a Young Adult
Give ___________ discernment and courage to develop and protect godly relationships.
Reveal any faulty theology and secular mindsets.
Open doors for spiritual relationships and mentoring.
Help ___________ seek wise counsel in crisis and decision-making.
Encourage ____________'s spirit, soul, and mind--
fight off insecurity and self-loathing and
fill ____________ with a knowledge of your infinite love and unending grace.
Prepare in _____________ a determination to serve and trust you all of his/her life.
Guide ______________ today into your presence.
Fill ___________ with the Holy Spirit and a heart of compassion.
Thank you for the blessing of knowing ___________.
Use me to influence him/her.
In Jesus' name,
Click here for "A Prayer for students"
Click here for "How to pray God's word over your kids"
Lord, protect my soul
Today I started teaching a poetry unit to my 9th and 10th grade students. As part of my argument that they do, in fact, read or listen to poetry every day, I played a song for them. I'll play a new one each day of the unit, and they will read along and identify the literary devices present in the song. They will analyze literature and hopefully analyze themselves.
And they will tap their feet and sing along quietly.
Here is the first song. And here is my prayer to go with it.
How easy it is to lose my soul to this world!
I scare myself when I realize how easily I am duped,
how easily I am distracted,
how easily I am deceived into thinking something here can actually satisfy me.
This world can offer me nothing,
but I obsess over success and happiness like they can.
protect my soul.
Guard my heart.
Strengthen my will.
Remind my mind
that you are everything,
and this world can offer me nothing.
thank you for saving me,
and leading me.
I don't want to lose my soul to anyone but you.
So I will trust you with it.
A Prayer of Spiritual Warfare over children's health
You know what it is to love a son,
give a son,
and lose a son,
so you know what parents go through
when they're worried about losing their kids
There are so many ways,
so many paths toward harm,
so many intersections of peril
where the world and the enemy in it
try to snatch up our children,
where the devil speaks lies about our love for them.
I pray your power, love, and dominion
over my children's lives.
You have them,
and you have a plan for them,
even if they don't follow you or your plans.
You will make beauty from the ashes in their lives.
But, oh, I hate the ashes.
Help me trust you with my children.
Help me trust you with my friends' children.
Help me to lament and request in faith,
knowing you love them even more than we do.
On behalf of hurting children,
I pray for patience in affliction,
healing from sickness,
relief from pain,
comfort in sadness,
hope in hopelessness.
In Jesus' name, I pray against the enemy
who tries to wedge himself into the minds and hearts of kids,
who tells them not to trust God,
not to trust parents,
not to trust prayer,
not to believe that you can heal,
that they are created perfectly in your image,
that you designed them for a purpose,
that only you can fill the longings of their hearts.
I pray, Holy Spirit, to speak truth into their minds and hearts.
Confirm your destiny over them.
Protect them from the evil one.
And give us all the faith to follow, whatever happens.
In Jesus' name,
the great Healer,
"Who ... heals all your diseases ..." from Psalm 103:1-5
Prayer against the enemy of discouragement
Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ,
I ask for you to join me in war against the enemy of discouragement.
I pray against a lack of confidence and hope for my loved one.
I pray in Jesus' name that your forces will defeat all that come against
life and love and holiness.
Bring him a miraculous intervention--
a resolution, a celebration, a season of hope and renewal--
because the forces that come with you are stronger than
the forces that come against him.
The war is already won.
But it'd be nice if you could just knock this battle out for him.
I know you want to grow him by bringing him through a valley.
He knows that.
We know that.
But life is still so hard,
and people can be so cruel.
They say things that discourage, deflate, and destroy
confidence, hope, and vision.
Sometimes, you just can't take it anymore.
Give my loved one thick skin,
a tender touch,
and a gracious heart.
May he reach out when others push.
May he stand firm when others strike.
And while I'm praying--
I'd really like it if you'd let him win this one.
Make it a really satisfying defeat against the devil.
You'll get the credit, of course.
It's all you.
It's always you.
In Jesus' powerful name,
A prayer of deliverance from spiritual bondage
A Prayer of power over a mission trip
Praying for Angels to Surround my Kids
Lord of Heaven,
You have angels at your disposal,
defending Your holiness,
protecting us, Your children.
You are great and mighty in power
and full of love and mercy.
I ask You to send more angels
to surround my kids today.
Minister to them--
defend them against the onslaught of the evil one.
Wage war over them
because You created them to be filled with power and authority in Jesus' name.
You intend for them to silence evil,
and glorify You.
May my kids honor and please You today with their thoughts, actions, and motivations.
May they be pure in heart and mind.
May they function as You intended,
surrounded by heavenly hosts
with swords drawn
and voices like thunder.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, my kids will slay spiritual giants and conquer enemy territory.
I believe it in the name of Jesus, the King of all Kings.
Thank You for Your angels.
I call on them in Jesus' holy name--
surround my kids today.
"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)
image by George Hodan
Or we notice stagnant lives, and we stress about them taking a spiritual nose-dive.
Or perhaps they are actively pursuing God, yet we worry about outside influences.
And then there are those frightening times when they just don't care about God at all;
perhaps they are making dangerous and sinful choices.
And we can't stop it.
BUT WE CAN PRAY!
Here's a prayer of spiritual warfare to pray over your wayward child:
Dear Father in Heaven,
You understand a parent's heart. You know that even though I trust You, it's so hard to leave my child completely in Your hands. I'm worried, even angry about the evil influences that push against ________. Please place Your hands around _________ and guide him/her into Your presence. Give him/her a thirst for You and a dissatisfaction for the pleasures of this world. Place people in _________'s path to influence and encourage him/her toward the heart of God. I ask for the Holy Spirit to convict, persuade, and strengthen __________. In Jesus' name, I pray the Holy Spirit's power over the enemy and his forces of evil that daily assault my child. I pray against the enemy's deceitful promises; I pray against the pleasure of evil--may sin taste bitter to my child. Lord, let his/her harmful friends and dangerous actions frighten __________; lead __________ to run toward You for protection, power, and purpose. Help __________ to find his/her identity in You alone, and not in the lies of the enemy of Christ. I claim victory in my child's life because of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and His powerful resurrection! In Jesus' holy and mighty name, I pray for __________ to return to blessings of a life lived wholly for God. May ________ walk worthy of Your calling, may __________ please You. May __________ conform no longer to the world but be transformed in his/her mind. Lead him/her into your good and perfect will. I give him/her into Your hands to transform him/her through Your power.
In Jesus' precious name,
(Read Romans 12, Colossians 1, and Ephesians 6 for more)
image by George Hodan
Prayer for my sponsored child
You provide and equip us for the journeys we take.
Please provide a covering from evil and protection from violence for my sponsored child.
Keep the enemy away from his family and his future.
Give him hope, courage, and resilience to live in his present situation.
Help him to know You and love You. I pray for his salvation and surrender to Your will.
I pray for spiritual influences in his life that give him a picture of You and Your love.
Give him a hope and a future of Your designing.
May he always walk in Your ways.
I thank you for the privilege of speaking into his life and loving him.
Your grace is unfathomable.
Thank you for loving me enough to involve me in Your important work.
Make me faithful to Your calling.
I love you! And I love this child. May he grow up in the confidence of both.
A Prayer of Protection for the World's Believers
Lord Jesus, Protector and Provider--
I pray your powerful hand of protection of the believers of the world. I pray for their souls to be full
with the knowledge of You. I pray for boldness and protection as they share the gospel in hostile territories. I pray that their lives will radiate the love of Jesus as they go about their daily business. Give them fierce angels to wage warfare on their behalf, to cover them with protection, and to guide them to the battles You want them to fight. Give them victory against their spiritual enemies! Fill them with peace as they fulfill their calling. Protect their spouses and children with Your loving hands; let them live victorious and impactful lives on this earth and for eternity. Bless them, oh Lord! Give these warriors heaven's eyes--help them see with Your perspective and act for Your glory!
In the mighty name of Jesus,
image by Jean Beaufort
A Poem for the BattleDear Yaweh Nissi, the Lord my Banner,
Wave above me in the fray,
This, your fight, is why You came;
Holiness defends Your name.
I await the victory day
When all people will proclaim,
The Lord reigns, He cannot flee.
The Lord sustains, He won't forsake.
The Lord forgives and peace He makes.
The Lord gives hope, He won't despair.
The Lord will triumph for my sake.
Lord, go with me in the fray,
You, Almighty, Elohim,
Doom advances, hope grows dim;
Faith alone will help me say,
Victory comes through rest in Him.
Holy Spirit, Father, Christ,
who made the world,
who paid the price,
who give me strength,
and calm my heart,
who know my fears
in hidden parts--
Lift my arms.
Stretch my view!
May I find all strength in You!
Give me friends who hold me up
I believe You fill my cup
with blessings, impact, suffering--
I will fight for Jesus' sake.
It's your battle, it's your war,
It's your victory, and so much more.
Throughout history and each new day,
Attend my fears, I do implore.
But either way, I will go forth
My life is yours, I will obey.
Ex. 17:10-16 "So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Moses built an altar and called it The Lord in my Banner. He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.'"
image from crestock.com
Another blog on spiritual warfare can be read on my other website, www.susanwalleyschlesman.com.